Continuing the sequel-related theme of some of our recent articles, today we're going to look at 10 of the most unnecessary sequels in movie history. Now, given that there have been an innumerable amount of bad sequels made over the years, we couldn't possibly list them all here. In the 2000's alone, the list of franchise entries that have been poor imitations of their predecessors has grown exponentially. So we're simply going to cherry pick 10 bad ones from the last couple of decades and turn a harsh spotlight on them. Because we're mean like that.
In order to make the list more manageable, we're only including sequels that had theatrical runs. We're not going to go into every godawful direct-to-home video release that made it's bow on the bottom shelf of Blockbuster (or, these days, those that turn up on Netflix with minimal fanfare). Sorry American Psycho 2: All American Girl, but you and your brethren are a whole different kettle of fish for a whole different article!
10. The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
Snow White And The Huntsman was a pretty sizeable hit in 2012, making nearly $400 million worldwide. The fairytale fantasy starred Kristen Stewart, fresh off The Twilight Saga, and Chris Hemsworth, Thor himself. They went up against Charlize Theron's evil Queen Ravenna, and a decent time at the movies resulted.
Fast forward to 2016, and the world simply did not seem to care about the misfiring sequel, The Huntsman: Winter's War. It failed to even gross half as much at the box office and reviews were mostly negative.
Stewart didn't reprise her role, but Hemsworth and Theron did, and the filmmakers were even able to add Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain to the cast. Given that they are two of the best, most sought after actresses of today, you would think they wouldn't sign on for a dud that very few people were calling for. And yet, they did.
Perhaps this won't be one that anyone involved brings up again. Ever.
9. Tron: Legacy (2010)
This long-awaited (we think) sequel arrived a massive 28 years after it's predecessor. Released in 1982, Tron developed into a cult hit over the years. It's one of Jeff Bridges' most beloved films, and it's computer generated effects were state of the art at the time. However, given that the gap between movies was so huge, very few members of the current movie-going audience had any idea what a Tron was or why they should care.
To be fair to the filmmakers and Disney, the film has it's own charm. The production design is incredible, as is the CGI, and they do a good job of making the concept accessible for new viewers. The movie did decent numbers as well, making $400 million worldwide. However, considering it cost $170 million to make and a lot more to market, the movie wasn't overly profitable for the studio.
We'll call this one a noble failure. It was unnecessary, for sure, but not a bad movie.
And the score by Daft Punk is bloody marvelous.
8. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)
At one point in his career, the former WWE People's Champion Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson became something of a sequel specialist. The strange thing was that he began appearing in a bunch of sequels to movies he didn't star in in the first place!
G.I. Joe Retaliation did okay for him, but we doubt we'll be seeing him in a third movie anytime soon. Fast Five, on the other hand, was a gravy train for Johnson. He has gone on to star in the sixth, seventh and upcoming eight installment of that mega-franchise.
However, he did also star in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island in 2012. A regrettable follow up to the marginal 2008 'hit' Journey To The Center Of The Earth, this one is a puzzler. It received middling reviews, lukewarm box office, and effectively killed off star Brendan Fraser's big screen career.
So why would The Rock, a bankable movie star, choose to star in a sequel to this? Who knows, but he did. And it also received middling reviews and lukewarm box office. Surprised? No, us neither.
7. Scream 4 (2011)
Any way you slice it, Scream 4 was a considerable step down from the original trilogy. Going by the worldwide box office figures, it's the lowest grossing of the franchise by over $60 million. It's domestic gross was also the lowest, and when you account for inflation with that domestic number? It's the lowest earner by over $100 million. Ouch.
All in all, it tells a story that in 2011, a full 11 years after Scream 3, audience's just weren't as interested in the adventures of Sidney Prescott, Gail Weathers and company anymore.
The movie, to it's credit, tried its best to move with the times and feature the wacky world of the internet and camera phones etc in it's plot. They also populated the cast with a new generation of nubile, self-aware teens to crack wise with the older generation about how out of touch they were. But crucially, the move just wasn't scary and the satirical aspects just weren't as sharp as they were before.
6. Zoolander 2 (2016)
Blue Steel. Le Tigre. Ferrari. And, of course, the almighty Magnum.
Fans of Ben Stiller's 2001 cult comedy Zoolander have no doubt made a habit of annoying their friends by constantly pulling these facial expressions in pictures over the years. There's a pretty good chance they talked a lot about being 'really, really, really ridiculously good looking' too.
But hey, it's because Zoolander is a great comedy. It's awesome that it founds its audience on home video in the years after it disappointed at the box office. It was this cult fandom that convinced everyone there was more mileage left in Derek Zoolander, and in 2016, a full 15 years later, Zoolander 2 was released.
Sadly for Stiller and company, nobody aside from the hardcore fans showed up for the movie, and it made even less money than it's predecessor at the box office. The very definition of an unnecessary sequel, it really didn't have anything new to say about the character. Crucially, though, it just wasn't very funny.
5. Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
To be fair to this misguided failure of a sequel, any movie trying to follow up the cultural phenomenon that was The Blair Witch Project was going to have a hard job living up to it. Released just over a year after the first movie had successfully duped half the world into thinking it was truly footage of three young film students getting lost in the woods and being menaced by a supernatural force, Book Of Shadows faceplanted into cinemas with a splat.
The original movie was one of the first 'found footage' films to make an impact. It felt original and timely because of it. The sequel, however, was a routine horror movie, complete with dumb young people in peril and Marilyn Manson on the soundtrack.
This did not sit well with the movie's director Joe Berlinger, a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker known for the Paradise Lost trilogy. His original vision was a subtly menacing psychological thriller. However, the studio didn't trust this to go over with horror fans, and so re-cut the movie and added in many scenes of random gore. Consequently, the movie makes little to no sense, and died a death at the box office.
4. Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Basic Instinct 2 is one of the biggest box office flops of all time. It finished it's theatrical run just shy of $6 million, at a reported budget of $70 million. Even it's takings worldwide couldn't push it into profitability. It stalled at $38 million.
Why? Well, it could be because (and we've been banging this drum all article), it was simply too long after the first film for any audience to care. 14 years is a long, long time, especially in Hollywood.
By the time this one crawled out of development hell, star Sharon Stone was pushing 50 and Michael Douglas declined to reprise his role. In hindsight, that was a good choice by him. His replacement, the charisma vacuum that is David Morrissey, is not exactly leading man material. He was unable to carry the movie, which critics lampooned, and Stone came across as desperate to recapture her youthful glories on screen.
3. Hannibal Rising (2007)
If you were to ask most people what Hannibal Lecter movies they remember, they're likely to say The Silence Of The Lambs and maybe the self-titled Hannibal. They may even say Red Dragon. Some may then wax lyrical to you about the amazingly brutal and haunting TV series starring Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy that ran for 3 seasons on NBC. Keen Lecter fans may even mention Manhunter, the first Lecter movie from 1986 that starred Brian Cox, not Anthony Hopkins.
However, we'd wager that not too many would bring up the regrettable Hannibal Rising. It's an incredibly forgettable movie.
It was a misguided attempt to give Lecter an origin story that makes him seem like some sort of avenging vigilante with weird issues with his aunt, Lady Murasaki. We're not making this up, even if it sounds that way. It's a bizarre way to show how our favorite cannibalistic serial killer with a razor sharp mind came to be.
2. Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
Blues Brothers 2000 was released 18 years after it's beloved predecessor, which came out in 1980. Which means, if our math is correct, Blues Brothers 2000 came out in...1998. Not 2000.
Weird. But want to hear something weirder?
This sequel, which tanked at the box office and left fans of the cult original dismayed, had a Nintendo 64 videogame based on it! The game, however, suffered from major delays in development, which meant that it only saw it's release...
...in the year 2000.
This delay at least made the title of the game make sense. But it went down about as well as the movie itself, a few years earlier. That is to say, not well at all.
1. Son Of The Mask (2005)
This misbegotten movie checks all the boxes of the most unnecessary of sequels.
No stars from the original, much more popular and critically acclaimed, film? Check.
Different director and writer? Another check.
Extensive gap (11 years) between the release dates of both films, thereby ensuring audience interest is suitably low? You better believe that's a check.
Worldwide box office ($84 million) returning a small fraction of the original ($351 million)? Check again!
Effectively killed off a once-promising franchise? Check. Mate.
There are many, many more unnecessary sequels out there, people. What ones have we left off the list? And do you disagree with any of our choices? Let us know!